Jewish Cultural Organizations

In the nineteenth century, many assimilationists were active in the development of cultural life. The first editions of works by A. Mickiewicz, J. Slowacki and Z. Krasinski, as well as contemporary Positivist writers, were published in Poland thanks to Jewish publishers. The Kronenberg family co-founded the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Another one of Warsaw's Jewish plutocrats, responding to an appeal by Polish patriots, bought the painting Battle of Grunwald by J. Matejko, which also helped the painter, who was in a difficult financial situation. There were no institutions supporting Jewish culture, however. The first such organization was B'nai B'rith. After Poland gained its independence, the Jewish Society for the Advancement of the Arts (Zydowskie Towarzystwo Krzewienia Sztuk Pieknych) was founded, whose aim was to support the arts in various ways. It helped artists, funded stipends for students at art schools, and organized exhibitions. Polish and Jewish writers' professional organizations were established around the same time. During the interwar period, as part of the Warsaw PEN club, there were also Jewish and Hebrew PEN Clubs, as well as unions of both Jewish and Hebrew writers. Music was very important for the Jewish community. Singing and music societies such as Ha-zomir [Hebrew, "The Nightingale"], organized primarily by supporters of Zionism, played a role similar to analogous Polish organizations at the turn of the century. Running a broad range of cultural activities, from reading rooms to organizing readings and concerts, they not only promoted music and secular culture, but also helped raise national consciousness. During the interwar period, Jewish schools and music courses were founded. There were also amateur and professional orchestras, choirs, and chamber groups. In most cities, there were Jewish musical societies that organized concerts and other events. During the 1930's, the Jewish Music Institute was founded.

At that time, scholarly institutions focusing on the study of Jewish society, history and culture were also active. At the initiative of academicians and teachers, the Institute of Judaic Studies was founded, as well as the Yidisher Visnshaftlecher Institut. The number of cultural institutions was an expression both of the Jewish nation-building process, as well as something that had been imposed by the state and inspired by the national camp, whose aim was to culturally isolate the Jewish community. Polish organizations often refused to help Jewish artists, and Poles did not show much interest in Jewish culture. There were no university courses on Jewish history or Judaic studies, and no research was done on Jewish society. Few Jewish scholars could find work in Polish institutions of higher learning.

The Second World War interrupted the activities of Jewish cultural organizations. Despite the unfavorable conditions, schools continued to function in the ghettos and secret classes were organized; there were also theaters, orchestras and cabarets. Writers and painters did their best to continue working. In the Warsaw ghetto, there was an underground archive, founded by E. Ringelblum, which in a limited way also tried to help artists. Scholars tried to pursue the work they had been engaged in before the war, treating it as a form of civil disobedience against Nazi barbarity.

The Holocaust put an end to their efforts. Poland's rich, varied Jewish cultural life virtually ceased to exist. Germans killed most of those who had created it, and their audiences, and intentionally destroyed all physical signs of it: historic synagogues, cemeteries, libraries and museum collections.
After the war, the Central Historical Commission, founded by the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, tried to save the scattered remains of this culture. Within the Committee, there was a Department of Culture and Propaganda, which tried to encourage the Jewish culture that was coming back to life. Artists who survived gathered in Jewish cultural associations, the Union of Jewish Writers, Journalists and Artists, the Association of Jewish Musicians and Composers in Poland, and the Union of Jewish Actors. The Jewish Society for the Advancement of the Arts began functioning again. In 1950, it was disbanded and the Social and Cultural Society of the Jews in Poland was founded in its place, at the initiative of the communist authorities.

In Poland, Jewish culture was used for propaganda purposes. It experienced a renaissance after 1956, especially among amateur organizations. This turned out to be short-lived, however, and ended with the communist authorities' anti-Jewish campaign in 1968. Currently, there are two Jewish cultural institutions that continue to operate in Poland: the State Jewish Theater and the Jewish Historical Institute.

REKLAMA: kosmetyka Opole Salon urody Opole mezoterapia Opole kosmetyki do mezoterapii preparaty do mezoterapii | Chcesz przedłużyć rzęsy, zobacz przedłużanie rzęs opole a może gładka wydepilowana skóra na nogach, depilacja laserem diodowym opole. Cierpisz na brak włosów, przerzedzone włosy na głowie. Skorzystaj ze sposobu na włosy: mikropigmentacja skóry głowy Odwiedźmiejsce, w którym znajdziesz rozwiązanie na problemy skóry głowy i włosów. Klinika Włosa - to miejsce, gdzie twoje włosy odżyją. Odpoczynek na kajakach w okolicach Opola, proponujemy spływy kajakowe, zobacz: spływy kajakowe opolskie | spływy kajakowe Mała Panew | kajaki Mała Panew Wybierz się na spływ kajakowy razem z rodziną.














Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Mokotowska 25, 00-560 Warsaw tel. (48-22) 44 76 100,
fax. (48-22) 44 76 152;